Putin consolidating power

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The irony is that while creating the MGB might look like a step forward for him, it is likely actually to make things worse.There will be even more scope for turf wars inside a superagency than before, as everything from budgets to responsibilities will be up for grabs.In particular, it would gain lead responsibility for investigating allegations of corruption and economic crimes, and these have become to main weapon the Kremlin uses to intimidate and eliminate its enemies these days.Third, it would allow even more intensive and aggressive espionage overseas.In the Democratic National Committee hacking case, for example, there were two parallel operations from different Russian agencies, neither apparently even aware of the other.That should send alarm bells ringing across the West.Besides, this fits a wider picture of a drift toward authoritarianism.

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The plan purportedly under discussion would merge the FSB, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Federal Guard Service (FSO) — very broadly analogous to the FBI, CIA, and Secret Service, respectively — into a new Ministry of State Security (MGB).Russian President Vladimir Putin salutes officers on February 18, 2004, shortly after his arrival at the observation point of the Artic cosmodrome in Plesetsk, where he came to watch the launch of the spacecraft Molnia, carrying a military spy satellite on board.A well-connected Russian newspaper is reporting that Vladimir Putin plans to unite his domestic security, foreign espionage, and counterintelligence agencies into one superagency, in effect recreating the old Soviet KGB.It is also heavily engaged in so-called “active measures” such as supporting divisive political movements and assassinating Chechen rebel sympathizers.The fact that sometimes the various intelligence agencies often operate at cross-purposes or duplicate the others’ efforts has been one of the few pieces of good news for the West.

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